Retro Review: Destiny's Child - Destiny's Child (1998)

Luckily, Destiny’s Child came up before people stopped watching videos. When BET added “No, No, No Pt. II” to rotation, every teenaged boy with cable spent most of the next school day debating who was the finest girl in that new video with Wyclef. The year before, the group debuted with a track everyone ignored on the Men in Black soundtrack (don’t front; you had it) but it was 1998’s Destiny’s Child that made anyone care.Then, they were just “the light skin’ded one in the front,” “the dark one with the short hair” and “those other two” but ten years later, the world has come to know them as Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and “those other two that got kicked out.” While looks got them noticed, it’s their voices that kept people’s attention - “No, No, No Pt. II” just got it right.The Carnival was still hot from the previous summer, and The Miseducaiton of Lauryn Hill was coming soon, so in 1998, The Fugees were about the hottest co-sign you could get. DC scored Wyclef for two songs (the second being the forgettable/forgotten “Illusion”) plus Master P stepped in for “With Me Pt. II.” After all, if P could sell Silkk the Shocker, he could sell anything.The high-profile collaborations didn’t totally do the job. After “No, No, No,” nothing from Destiny’s Child really caught on. “With Me,” was an iffy follow-up single, and the tacky looking video with Jermaine Dupri (a grown-ass man) ogling the underage girls through binoculars probably didn’t help. Meanwhile, odd choices for album cuts like the questionable cover of The Commodores’ “Sail On” weren’t going to make up the difference.Beyoncé herself has since concluded that the album was “too mature” for a group of 16 year-old-girls. She was obviously right, because their next album (1999’s lighter The Writing’s On The Wall) was the one that truly made them stars. Destiny’s Child eventually sold around two million copies worldwide; a respectable number in 1998, but not a knockout.While not musically amazing, Destiny’s Child set the stage for DC to become the top-selling female group of all time. History is full of superstar artists with shaky first albums, and that’s certainly better than exploding on the scene and then peaking early. Destiny? Not really, because the (eventual) trio got to the top with quality work - their first album wasn’t the best of that, but by now, we can just call it a lesson learned.Either that or we can blame those other two.Check out the video for Destiny's Child's "No No No Part II" featuring Wyclef Jean